Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Tourist traffic: Old men in hats should be against the law
Spring's arrival in the Comox Valley is signaled by several things. The chorus of chirping birds, the cherry trees blossoming into a riot of pink, plants that lay dormant all winter poking their tender green shoots out of the soils, the snow level on the mountains slowly receding. Perhaps the biggest sign that spring has arrived is also the one that makes all Valleyites grind their teeth into dust: the influx of tourist traffic.
I live in one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. The problem is, lots of people who don't live here also know the awesomeness of this place. And every spring the tourists invade, bringing with them their hard-earned tourist dollars to contribute to the local economy (good) and their vehicles which you can always tell belongs to a tourist because if the out of province license plate wasn't a dead giveaway, the large RV being driven erratically 20 kms under the speed limit by someone who has obviously never driven an RV before in their life is pretty telling (bad. And highly fucking annoying).
I have narrowed down the type of tourists we normally see around here and their driving habits into 3 types:
1)Retirees: most often driving gigantic RV's and towing their Lincon Town car behind it. ALWAYS driving way slower than the speed limit and ignores the increasing line of irate vehicles behind him. Beware old men wearing hats...they're the worst. Not only do they go extra-slow but they put their turn signal on the moment they leave the driveway, so you can be waiting for them to turn for 50 kms before they ever do so.
2) Families: easy to spot because their minivans are overflowing with kid-detritus and smell of spilled juiceboxes and parental despair (as in "why the fuck did I ever think traveling for 2 weeks with 3 kids under 10 was a good idea?? If I have to listen to one more kid yelling punchbuggy and belt his sister so hard in the leg she screams and tries to put him in a headlock and shove crayon up his nose in retaliation, I will lose what's left of my mind". Families can usually be seen pulling u-turns in the middle of the highway, due to the universal law that kids will start clamouring for a bathroom 2 seconds after you pass a rest stop or gas station
3) Hippies: here for the laid-back vibe, the relaxed possession laws and the pot. Usually driving old VW vans that have been hotboxed so many times, you can get a contact high just from driving in their wake. Hippies are easy to spot...just look for the vehicle that slowly drifts onto the shoulder of the road every once in a while and drives exactly 2 kms under the speed limit so they don't get pulled over and risk getting their stash confiscated
Tourist traffic earns 3 flaming middle fingers on the Hate-O-Meter because it's mostly a seasonal thing. Old men in hats however, get 5